The TV Nerd's Take

CenturyLink is my recommendation for budget shoppers, homes with multiple TVs, and family homes that need stable pricing.

Xfinity makes more sense for suburban and urban area customers who need faster speeds, more channels, and on-demand programming.

While both CenturyLink and Xfinity provide a quality service, there are some key differences between the two that may affect the process of deciding which TV and internet provider is right for you.

CenturyLink provides high-speed internet as well as television service through both DirecTV and Prism, and generally has lower prices than Comcast.

Comcast’s Xfinity has some of the best internet available, and their TV service has one of the largest on-demand libraries out there. Xfinity provides a premium service at a premium price.

Core Comparison
 CenturyLinkXFINITY from Comcast
Average Download Speed27.7367.85
Netflix Ranking457
Major Cities Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver Houston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia
States Served 39 States including Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Minnesota and Florida 40 States including California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan

CenturyLink pros and cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup CenturyLink service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: (877) 862-9343


  • More TV options at a lower price
  • More premium and sports channels
  • Multi-room DVRs included in base price


  • Overall lower Internet speeds
  • Satellite Dish installation required for DirecTV
  • Less on-demand content than Xfinity

One of the biggest benefits to CenturyLink is the affordable prices behind their TV service. Many DirecTV plans come with multiple DVR boxes to support additional TVs without an added monthly fee.

On the flipside, the internet from the provider is not as strong as Xfinity. With many parts of the country still on DSL rather than cable, the maximum speed is generally a lot lower.

Xfinity pros and cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup XFINITY from Comcast service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: (800) 934-6489


  • Blazing fast internet available in most locations
  • Great bundle deals
  • Huge amounts of on-demand cable content


  • Overall higher prices
  • Equipment rental fees
  • Fewer DVR features
In most locations, Xfinity’s internet will outperform CenturyLink, making it a great choice for those who prioritize internet over television services.

However, Xfinity service is generally a little more expensive than CenturyLink, and the TV equipment just can’t compare to that offered by DirecTV.

With that said, Xfinity TV still provides a lot of channels and on-demand content. Bundled together, you’ll save money and receive some of the best quality in both internet and television service.

CenturyLink vs Xfinity TV service

Flat screen tv on the wall and Xfinity DVR.
Xfinitys X1 service takes the prize for best TV service compared to CenturyLins Prism TV. Image via Daniel X. O’Neil/Flickr


  • Multiple DVRs included in monthly fee
  • Greater selection of channels at a lower price
  • Genie DVR comes packed with features that outshine Xfinity’s option
  • Watch shows on the go with the DirecTV mobile app
  • Watch any show aired in the last 72 hours with DirecTV 72 hour rewind
  • Support for 4K channels, giving some of the best picture quality in the industry


  • X1 Voice Remote allows you to control your media with voice commands
  • Integration with Netflix makes it easy to watch your favorite content all in one place
  • Xfinity Stream app allows you to watch your shows on the go
  • Manage Xfinity WiFi from your TV
  • Support for HD channels
  • A huge amount of on-demand content

As I’ve discussed above, CenturyLink generally provides a more comprehensive standalone TV service, largely thanks to the DirecTV option. While both providers have their perks, I can confidently recommend CenturyLink as a stronger option if all you’re looking for is some great TV.

Network Coverage

Sports packages

Although CenturyLink seems to offer a better TV package in general, Xfinity offers a few more options for serious sports fans.


  • Sports Pack offers access to 30 regional sports networks, MLB Network Strike Zone, specialty sports, and international soccer.
  • Robust support for College Sports
  • Genie DVR allows you to track your favorite teams and view all game listings in one convenient place


  • Package options supporting your favorite sports like the NFL, MLB, NBA, College Football, Soccer, NASCAR, NHL, Golf, and more.
  • Track scores from multiple games all in one place just using your Xfinity DVR
  • A la Carte options allow you to pick and choose different networks in addition to a general sports package

Xfinity vs CenturyLink Equipment Options

Both CenturyLink and Xfinity offer DVR systems: the Genie for the former, and the X1 DVR for the latter.

The Genie HD DVR is one of the more advanced devices on the market, and equipment is provided for more than one room, allowing for easy access to your favorite content on multiple TVs for no additional cost.

Xfinity offers voice control of their system, which is a handy tool but somewhat gimmicky when compared to the robust features of the Genie DVR.

Overall, I feel that it’s clear that CenturyLink has the advantage when it comes to equipment.

CenturyLink key advantage: excellent TV options and budget pricing

If you’re mainly after a television provider, CenturyLink is the clear choice. With more channels, a more fully-featured DVR, and more flexible equipment, it’s a no-brainer if you’re in the market for quality TV.

Support for 4K programming also sets it apart from Xfinity, ensuring you’ll get the highest quality picture available as channels start to bump up their resolutions.

Xfinity key advantage: superior Internet service and great bundles

Xfinity is the clear winner in most locations with blazing fast speeds available at reasonable prices. If you’re thinking of bundling TV and Internet, the company’s double play options are superior to that of CenturyLink.

If both TV and internet service are important to you, or if you’re just after a fast connection, Xfinity will serve you better than CenturyLink.

CenturyLink vs Xfinity equipment and installation considerations

CenturyLink’s TV service generally requires the installation of a satellite Dish, which is a little more involved than just setting up a DVR or cable box.

On the flipside, Xfinity charges rental fees for all of their equipment which can add $10+ to your monthly bill.

Each equipment situation has its pros and cons depending on whether you’re looking for easier installation or a lower monthly bill.

The TV Nerd’s Take: Xfinity, for their fast Internet and affordable bundles

Overall, I feel that Xfinity is the better option for those looking for Internet or both Internet and TV. The advantage CenturyLink has over Xfinity is the more robust TV service, but the company really falls short when it comes to internet options.

With that said, CenturyLink is a viable option for those who are focused on the TV experience.

Like any decision there are pros and cons to both choices. It’s worth checking with your neighbors before signing up for any service, since they’ll have personal experience with the network performance and pricing on your specific street. If you just need to make a snap decision and get Internet and TV installed ASAP, Xfinity will be the top pick for most people.


  • Image of Kevin McLaughlin
    Kevin McLaughlin says

    We are switching to Xfinity next week from CenturyLink, who we have been with for over 9 years. CenturyLink has raised our bill over $40 dollars each year for the past 2 years coming in at $238/mo. now. They are dropping Prism TV and pushing Direct TV but at a higher price than Xfinity by far ($60/mo. more even with the equipment rental fees).
    I've talked to several CenturyLink customer service reps. They all seemed like they couldn't care less if they kept my business and only wanted to push Direct TV. Their equipment is outdated also. Time to move on with a bundled deal from Xfinity with a 3 year price lock guarantee.


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